The Primer: Divisional Round Edition (2020 Fantasy Football)
We’re onto the final weekend of football where there are more than two games on your television set this weekend. While there are some of you who’ll be partaking in leagues during the playoffs, these editions of The Primer will be focused on DFS. Fortunately, you’ll still be able to get an idea of how I feel on every player on the slate, as I’ll be going through each individual player in-depth.
For those who are new around these parts, The Primer is something that we do every week during the fantasy season (Weeks 1-16), highlighting every relevant fantasy player from every game, giving you a reason for optimism or a reason to place a player on the bench. We’ll talk about WR/CB matchups, recent snap counts, target shares, and trends that you need to know.
For those who are diving into DFS for the first time, when we reference “cash” it refers to games where if you beat half the field, you win. The examples of those are head-to-heads, 50/50’s, and Double-Ups. Playing in those contests, you’ll want to do all you can to ensure a high floor out of the players in your lineup. When referring to tournaments or GPPs (Guaranteed Prize Pools), only those towards the top portion of entries (typically around top 10 percent) earn winnings. In tournaments, you don’t care about floor as much as you do about a player’s ceiling. I should also mention that we’re sticking to DraftKings pricing, as they have all four games included on the main slate. Ok, let’s talk some wild card weekend players.
Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs
Line: KC by 9.5
Chiefs notable injuries: S Juan Thornhill (OUT – ACL)
Deshaun Watson ($6,700): We knew Watson’s ceiling was going to be somewhat limited against a rock-solid Bills defense, but he made the most of it when it mattered, throwing for 198 yards and a touchdown in the second half while rushing for another. He didn’t look great, dipping his head as soon as there was any hint of pressure, but he got the points when he needed to, and rushing totals mean just as much (if not more) to us as passing totals. The matchup with the Chiefs is one we’ve seen before back in Week 6 when he completed 30-of-42 passes for 280 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 42 yards and two touchdowns. The passing totals don’t look great on paper, but Watson’s receivers really let him down in that game, as they dropped four passes (Fuller 3, Hopkins 1). Not just dropped passes, but all of them were for would-be touchdowns, with three of them being 28-plus yards. Watson should’ve had a monster game against the Chiefs. Despite those mishaps, Watson scored 27.4 points and finished as the QB3 that week. It was the biggest fantasy performance against the Chiefs all season. Despite the perception, the Chiefs defense has been a strength this season, allowing the 12th-fewest points to fantasy quarterbacks. The 6.62 yards per attempt they’ve allowed ranks fourth-best behind only the 49ers, Patriots, and Bills, while the 3.61 percent touchdown-rate ranks as the ninth-best mark, and the 60.4 percent completion-rate ranks as the fourth-best. There were just two quarterbacks who hit the 300-yard mark against them this year, with one of them being Philip Rivers when he threw the ball 52 times. Watson hasn’t thrown the ball more than 34 times in 13-of-16 games this year, though one of the games he did came against the Chiefs. They aren’t a plus-matchup for quarterbacks, though it did appear the Texans offense had their number in Week 6. It doesn’t hurt Watson’s projection to know the Chiefs lost starting safety Juan Thornhill to injured reserve, though. It also doesn’t hurt that eight running backs have rushed for at least 18 yards. There are better cash game options on this slate, but if Fuller comes back and the Texans can recreate the magic they had in Week 6, he can help you win tournaments. You’ll also want to pay attention to the weather reports, as this game will be played in a snow state.
Patrick Mahomes ($7,500): After hitting 30-plus DraftKings points in each of his first three games this year, Mahomes has scored more than 26.7 DraftKings points just once over his last 11 games. To be fair, that’s a hard number to hit, but when comparing him to guys like Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson on the same slate, that stuff needs to be factored in. Back when these teams met in Week 6, he finished that game with 273 yards and three touchdowns, which was good enough for the No. 11 quarterback performance that week. The fantasy floor for quarterbacks has been quite good against the Texans, as they’ve allowed 13-of-17 quarterbacks to tally at least 17.9 fantasy points against them. The exceptions were Jameis Winston (who was without both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin), Jacoby Brissett, Gardner Minshew, and Kyle Allen. The Texans have gotten slightly better with Gareon Conley on the team (acquired him at trade deadline) but were forced to play without Johnathan Joseph last week, who’s dealing with a hamstring injury. Conley himself was on the Raiders roster when the Chiefs played them in Week 2 where he allowed 4-of-6 passing for 76 yards and a touchdown in his coverage. The Texans have been prone to the big play, as they allowed 58 plays of 20-plus yards this year, which ranked as the eighth-most, while the Chiefs compiled 59 such plays themselves as an offense. All-in-all, the Texans are not a very good defense who doesn’t generate a whole lot of pressure (ranked bottom-10) or sacks (6th-fewest) and it’s led to them being below average in completion percentage, touchdown percentage, and yards per attempt while allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. While Lamar Jackson is likely the best cash-game play on the slate, Mahomes is right up there with him in tournaments.
Carlos Hyde ($5,000) and Duke Johnson ($4,700): Even in a game they fell behind rather early and Johnson looked like the far superior back, the Texans gave Hyde 17 touches compared to just six touches for Johnson. It’s not apples to apples, but Johnson’s touches netted 15 more yards than Hyde’s. It’s what we’ve seen all year as Hyde has received 255 touches to Johnson’s 127 touches, a 67/33 split. The Chiefs are a team to attack with running backs, both on the ground and through the air. The 4.86 yards per carry they allowed this year ranks fourth-most behind only the Panthers, Jaguars, and Browns. The 14.1 PPR points per game they allowed through the air to running backs ranks as the second-highest mark in the league, behind only (oddly enough) the Texans. All-in-all, the Chiefs allowed 206.7 yards per game to opposing running backs, which ranked as the second-most in the NFL. When these teams met back in Week 6, Hyde racked-up 27 touches, 130 yards, and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Johnson totaled seven touches for 54 yards and a touchdown of his own. Here’s the bottom line against the Chiefs: there have been 12 running backs who’ve tallied more than 14 touches against them. Every single one of those running backs finished with 89 or more total yards. Even more favorable for Hyde is that eight running backs have totaled 20-plus touches, and every one of them racked-up 116-plus yards. Hyde has received at least 15 touches in 11-of-17 games, while totaling at least 20 touches in four of them. Knowing DraftKings is a full PPR site, it takes some appeal from Hyde, but he should deliver a stable floor in cash games if you’re looking to save some money at the position. Knowing there have been 12 different running backs who’ve totaled at least 15 PPR points against the Chiefs, he’s in play for tournaments, too. Johnson is nothing more than a tournament play where you’re betting against everything the Texans have done this season, even if he is the better running back on the team.
Damien Williams ($6,000) and LeSean McCoy ($4,400): The Chiefs backfield has not very profitable this year, as they’ve delivered just nine performances of more than 13.9 PPR points this year and just three performances of more than 18.6 PPR points. It’s fair to say the timeshare Andy Reid had in mind this year hasn’t worked out like he’d hoped. The good news, however, is that Williams has scored 49.6 PPR points in the two games since returning from his injury while racking up 38 opportunities. It’s clear the Chiefs don’t expect much out of McCoy, who’s been better in small doses. He hasn’t topped 40 rushing yards in each of his last six games, while seeing more than three targets just twice in the last nine games. Williams is the one you should be looking at for the Chiefs, and it’s not all that close. He’s been the best pass-catcher on the team, which is where you want to attack the Texans. The 241.1 PPR points they allowed to running backs through the air alone was by far the most in the league, as the closest team allowed 225.1 points. They were one of just six teams that allowed more fantasy points through the air to running backs than they did on the ground. It’s not just through the air, though, as the Texans have allowed a healthy 4.61 yards per carry on the ground as well. It all amounts to 0.97 PPR points per opportunity, which ranked as the fourth-highest mark in the league behind only the Panthers, Jaguars, and Seahawks. There are fantasy points to be had in this matchup and Williams is someone who you can play in cash if you’d like to avoid paying up for some of the top options. You should have exposure in tournaments for sure. The discount to McCoy is nowhere near large enough to consider him. Even in tournaments, he’s not a great play.
Deandre Hopkins ($7,400): It wasn’t a bad day for Hopkins last week against Tre’Davious White (6/90/0), though it’s not like he won you a tournament or anything. He’s not going to have a shadow matchup this week, though it’s not as easy of a matchup as some think. The Chiefs have been solid against wide receivers really all season. Did you know they allowed the fewest yards to the position this year? Yep, the 1,956 yards they allowed to wide receivers was fewer than the Patriots, Chargers, and 49ers. Only the Patriots allowed fewer fantasy points to the position. Part of the issue was volume, as they were targeted 277 times, which ranked as the fourth-fewest in the league but make no mistake about it… they were good. Hopkins saw 12 targets the first time they met, finishing the game with nine receptions for 55 scoreless yards. He did drop a would-be 10-yard touchdown catch, but it wound-up being a lackluster fantasy day for him. He’ll see a mix of each cornerback, but mostly second-year cornerback Charvarius Ward who’s held quarterbacks to just a 67.3 QB Rating when targeted in coverage. He’s allowed just one touchdown on 84 targets in coverage, while allowing just a 47.6 percent catch-rate and 7.55 yards per target, which are both elite numbers. It does seem that DraftKings priced him at a point where his targets are worth considering in cash, though he may not be one of my “locks.” You never want to be empty-handed in tournaments with someone like Hopkins, though.
Will Fuller ($5,000): It was announced seemingly right after the win last week that Fuller would be ready to go for this game. That seems sketchy considering the nature of his injury. Though it seems like he’s on the right track, don’t automatically assume he’s playing in this game. The matchup with the Chiefs hasn’t been a good one for most receivers, as they allowed just 10 wide receivers all season to reach 12-plus PPR points against them. Fuller himself should’ve been one of them but he had what may have been his worst game as a professional in Week 6 when he dropped three would-be touchdown passes, with all of them being from at least 28 yards out. Was it an off week for the Chiefs? They allowed just 46 pass plays of 20-plus yards this season, which ranked as the eighth fewest in the league. The cornerback he’ll see most of the game would be Bashaud Breeland, which should be viewed as somewhat of a positive, as he’s allowed a massive 16.7 yards per reception. Sure, he’s allowed just a 47.5 percent catch-rate, but we’re looking for those big plays with Fuller, who regularly got behind this defense in Week 6. DraftKings has priced him aggressively, so there’s no way you’re considering him in cash, but if he’s a go, tournaments are the place to play him.
Kenny Stills ($4,800): With Fuller out of the lineup, Stills saw his usual 2-5 targets against the Bills (five targets) and netted four catches for 46 yards. He’s been held to five targets or less in 11-of-14 games this year, which is problematic against the Chiefs, who have allowed just one wide receiver who’s seen five targets or less score more than 10.7 PPR points, and that was D.J. Chark way back in Week 1 when he caught 4-of-4 targets for 146 yards and a touchdown. Outside of that, the best performance by a receiver with five targets or less was Marvin Jones‘ three catches for 77 yards. Stills hasn’t topped 61 yards since way back in Week 7, and that’s despite Fuller missing all the games he did. The good news is that Fuller back in the lineup would move Stills back to the slot, which is where the Chiefs have struggled a bit, as Kendall Fuller was moved to safety after struggling in the slot while Tyrann Mathieu has moved down and taken his place. But with the injury to Juan Thornhill, we have to wonder if they’ll shuffle things around again. It’s obviously too risky to play Stills in cash, as he’s nothing more than a hail-mary tournament option.
Tyreek Hill ($7,600): It’s been a while since we’ve seen a Hill blowup-type game, as he’s failed to top 72 yards in each of his last six games. Will a matchup with the Texans change that? It very well could. There were eight different wide receivers who tallied 100-plus yards against them this year, while three of them also hauled in multiple touchdowns. The Texans have dealt with a lot of injuries and bad play that’s led to them starting Vernon Hargreaves in the slot. You know, the cornerback the Bucs cut a few months back. The best part is that Hill lines up in the slot almost half the time, which means he’ll get to see plenty of Hargreaves, who’s allowed 72-of-96 passing for 917 yards and five touchdowns in his coverage. Even on the perimeter, Johnathan Joseph missed last week with a hamstring injury and may not be 100 percent even if he does play. The Texans allowed 12 passing plays of 40-plus yards this year, which ranked as the seventh-most in the league. Knowing the upside you get with Hill combined with the fact that he’s tallied at least 55 yards in 10 of his last 11 games, he’s a rock-solid cash-game option who’s also a favorite in tournaments.
Sammy Watkins ($4,300): If you were in a coma for Week 1, you’d say that Watkins hasn’t been fantasy relevant at all this year. His Week 1 performance was the only time he finished with more than 13.3 DraftKings points. In fact, he’s topped 10.1 DK points just once since Week 3. His targets have gone down significantly, as he’s been held to five or less in five of his last six games. DraftKings has priced him to the point where you must consider him, however. The Chiefs essentially rotate Watkins and Hill in the slot, which will give him a great matchup with Vernon Hargreaves nearly half the time. For another 30 percent of the time, he’ll see Johnathan Joseph (if he plays) who’s coming off a hamstring injury that caused him to miss last week. All it takes is one tweak or slip from Joseph, and Watkins is gone for a long touchdown. Why should you consider Watkins with the lack of results this year? Because he’s still someone who’s totaled 18.5 or more DK points in four games with the Chiefs (24 games). He’s the No. 2 receiver in this offense that’s led by Patrick Mahomes in a game that’s projected for 50 points, including 30 by his team. He’s not someone you want to play in cash lineups, but he’s absolutely in play for tournaments.
Mecole Hardman ($4,100): It’s frustrating to see Hardman used so little in this offense, as he’s been electrifying with the ball in his hands, scoring six touchdowns on just 41 targets. Of the 26 receptions he’s had, eight of them have gone for 20-plus yards. But when you see that he’s played fewer than 20 snaps in six of the last nine games, it highlights why he’s nothing more than a tournament play. Against a Texans team that’s allowed the eighth-most 20-plus-yard passing plays, he could be a cheap tournament option, but you need to know what you’re getting yourself into. He’s one big play or bust.
Darren Fells ($3,500): With Jordan Akins held out last week, we got to see Fells in a one-man-show, though it amounted to just 4/37/0 in a tough matchup with the Bills defense. The Chiefs defense allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends this year, though there’s more red tape surrounding this matchup than what most see on the surface. Volume is what’s produced fantasy totals against them, as the 1.55 PPR points per target they’ve allowed to the position ranks as the third-best mark in the NFL. They faced an average of 9.1 tight end targets per game, which ranked as the second-most in the league, while the duo of Fells and Akins averaged just 6.4 targets per game. There were eight tight ends who tallied more than 7.6 PPR points against the Chiefs, with six of them totaling at least five targets. The number of times Fells hit that number this year? Three. One of them was against the Chiefs back in Week 6 when he totaled 6/69/0 on seven targets, though it’s important to note that Kenny Stills was out for that game, and Watson threw the ball 42 times. If Akins misses again, Fells isn’t a bad cheap option, though it’s tough to pass on some of the big name tight ends this week.
Travis Kelce ($6,400): We’re now on a four-game slate with Kelce available at $6,400. In reality, he should cost closer to $8,000 with the advantage he has over others at the position on a slate this small. Did you know there’s been just two games all season where he didn’t score double-digit PPR points? 9-of-16 games netted 15.5 or more PPR points. There isn’t much about the Texans that should worry you, either. They were a relatively average defense against the position, allowing a 65.5 percent completion-rate (25th-highest, the only thing they were above average in), 7.73 yards per target (11th-highest), and a touchdown every 19.3 targets (17th). They did hold Kelce to four catches for 58 yards in the first meeting, though. He saw just six targets in that game though, which was his second-lowest total of the year, as there were just three times all year he saw fewer than eight targets. Justin Reid is the one who’ll be tasked with slowing down Kelce much of the day, a safety that’s allowed 23-of-35 passing for 239 yards and two touchdowns in his coverage, which is slightly above average. Still, it’s nearly impossible to fade Kelce in cash games, as he’s just too good and too consistent, especially when you factor in his price.
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers
Line: GB by 4.0
Russell Wilson ($6,600): Considering the Seahawks had no prayer of running the ball against the Eagles, they had to rely on Wilson to get them through to the next round, and he did just that by throwing for 325 yards and a touchdown on just 30 attempts while rushing for another 45 yards. The Packers are going to be a different type of opponent, as they’ve been a team that’s flip-flopped in defensive priority. They couldn’t stop the run to start the year, so they tried to shore that up with a bit less of a pass-rush. That led to the secondary bleeding production, so they’ve never really been a complete defense, just one that’s been a bit hit-or-miss against the pass, but one that’s constantly struggled against the run. Because of that, there are concerns about Wilson’s projected pass attempts. The 7.35 yards per pass attempt is slightly above the league average, though they’ve intercepted 17 passes while allowing just 18 passing touchdowns, which kept fantasy numbers down. It also helps they had one of the easiest quarterback schedules in the league. Throughout the entirety of 2019, they played just two top-12 fantasy quarterbacks. That’s it. Those quarterbacks were Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz. Is it a coincidence that they finished with the two best fantasy performances against the Packers this year? I think not. Both finished with 19.7-plus fantasy points. So, when you see they allowed the sixth-fewest points to quarterbacks, it’s not exactly something you should be concerned with. He’s also played 13 games throughout his career in sub-40-degree weather and has thrown 28 touchdowns in them. Wilson is not someone to play in cash due to the concern of limited attempts, but he’s someone you need to have some exposure to in tournament lineups.
Aaron Rodgers ($6,500): To say that it’s been a rough year for Rodgers from a fantasy standpoint would be an understatement. He finished outside the top 20 quarterbacks in 9-of-16 games. He finished with fewer than 15 fantasy points in 10-of-16 games. He did that just four times in the previous three years. He has teased us from time-to-time, though, finishing with 25-plus points on four separate occasions. The Seahawks weren’t a defense to be concerned with at the start of the year, but have seemingly turned things around after that Week 9 game against Jameis Winston when he threw for 335 yards and two touchdowns. Since then, they’ve held each of the next seven quarterbacks to 17.0 or less fantasy points, including Kirk Cousins, Kyler Murray, and Jimmy Garoppolo (twice). They have still yet to allow a quarterback more than two touchdowns this season, but there is an area of Rodgers’ game that could come in handy. The Seahawks have allowed seven different quarterbacks to rush for 25-plus yards, while Rodgers has rushed for at least 23 yards in four games this year. It’s an underrated portion of his game that he may hold back to prevent injury, though the playoffs are when you put everything on the line. Still, DraftKings isn’t giving you any discount, as his price still has name-brand value attached to it. He’s not someone you should be trusting in cash games this week based on what we’ve seen this year. Knowing he’s one of the most talented quarterbacks to every play the game, you don’t want to be caught empty-handed in tournaments, though he’s not someone you need to aggressively attack there, either.
Marshawn Lynch ($4,800) and Travis Homer ($5,100): The timeshare was more divided than I thought it’d be last week, as Homer tallied 41 snaps to Lynch’s 17 snaps. The touch count was Homer 12 and Lynch 8, but it was Lynch who got the goal-line carry (as expected). This backfield is going to be a difficult one to project, but against the Packers, it’s something we need to focus on. They’ve allowed a robust 4.86 yards per carry this year (4th-highest mark), including a touchdown every 24.0 carries (4th-most-often). This bodes well for Lynch, who’s the one they’ll turn to when it matters most to fantasy players. While Lynch did out-target Homer last week (3 to 1), it was Homer who ran nearly three times as many routes. The Packers were one of the best in the NFL when it came to slowing down running backs in the passing game, as the 1.29 PPR points per target suggests. There wasn’t a single running back who totaled more than 57 yards through the air against them this season, while there was just one who caught a touchdown. Oddly enough, it was Jordan Howard. The ground is where most of the damage will need to be done, which has me side with Lynch, though neither are guys I’d aim to play in cash. Knowing Lynch is the one with more touchdown upside, he’s the preferred tournament option.
Aaron Jones ($7,400) and Jamaal Williams ($4,600): It seems that Williams is going to be able to play in this game after missing their Week 17 game with a shoulder injury, but it’s something to monitor as we get closer to the game. The Packers have decided to ride Jones down the stretch, as he’s racked up 546 total yards and five touchdowns over the last four games. Even more importantly, he received at least 22 touches in three of them. Against the Seahawks, that’s massive, as they’ve faced just eight running backs who’ve tallied 20-plus touches. Those running backs averaged 136.9 total yards and 1.3 touchdowns per game. The only running back who didn’t total at least 102 total yards was Ronald Jones. Opportunity means everything against the Seahawks, as the 0.99 PPR points per opportunity ranked as the third-most in the league behind only the Panthers and Jaguars. The issue has been touches, as running backs have averaged just 24.6 touches per game against the Seahawks. But knowing how everything correlates here for Adams (at home, favorites, three-down back) and that Williams may not be 100 percent, Jones is someone I’m comfortable playing in cash this week, and he obviously has tournament upside. Williams shouldn’t be considered anything more than a low-owned tournament option who’s coming off injury. But hey, if Jones were to fumble early in the game, he could see 15-plus touches, so it’s not the worst idea.
Tyler Lockett ($6,600): It didn’t take long for DraftKings to adjust the pricing on the Seahawks wide receivers, eh? We liked Metcalf much more last week based on matchup and price, though Lockett has now gone from being $1,100 more to being $200 less. The matchup for Lockett this week is once again tougher than Metcalf’s, though youth could be on his side here. The Packers have had Tramon Williams covering the slot and he’s done a great job, but he’s going to be 37 years old in a few months. Lockett is a spry 27-year-old who may be able to outwork the veteran. We saw Anthony Miller get the best of Williams in Week 15 when he tallied nine receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown against them. That was by far the biggest game they allowed to a slot-heavy wide receiver, so it’s not a normal occurrence or anything. Lockett has seen at least seven targets in each of the last four games with all the injuries/suspensions the Seahawks have dealt with, so he deserves consideration in cash games, but he’s not a “must-play” in them. Don’t forget about him in tournaments.
D.K. Metcalf ($6,800): Welcome to the big leagues, Mr. Metcalf. In his first playoff game, he set a rookie record with 160 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles, including a leaping grab to seal the game. We did this chart last week, so why not update it?
Metcalf is essentially part of a 1A/1B situation, though we (sadly) watched DraftKings realize that after the wild card game, jacking up his price above Lockett’s. The good news is that his matchup this week once again fits his skill-set. The Packers have allowed 15 pass plays of 40-plus yards this year, which ranked second to only the Raiders. Metcalf totaled 475 yards on passes that traveled over 20 yards in the air this year, which ranked as the fifth-highest mark in the league. With where Metcalf aligns most of the time, he’ll see Kevin King the most, a cornerback who’s allowed 17.2 yards per reception, which was the third-highest mark among full-time cornerbacks. If you want to use Metcalf in cash, I wouldn’t blame you, though his price being so close to Deandre Hopkins makes me hesitate a bit. He obviously has tournament upside with how well this matchup aligns with his strengths.
David Moore ($3,900): We had a shot to use Moore somewhat confidently at $3,400 with both Jaron Brown and Malik Turner out of the lineup, but with Brown expected to return and Turner potentially getting cleared from the concussion protocol, things get a bit cloudier. Even with those guys out of the lineup, he saw four targets that amounted to 2/57/0, but we still saw a price increase on DraftKings. Moore’s average depth of target this year was 14.2 yards, which is ahead of both Metcalf and Lockett. Knowing the Packers have struggled to defend down the field, Moore is an interesting post-hype tournament option. He’s nothing more than that, as the Packers did allow just 9.8 wide receiver receptions per game, which did rank as the second-fewest in the league.
Davante Adams ($7,800): If you played Adams over the last two months in DFS, you were liking making a profit. Over his last seven games, he’s tallied a massive 80 targets (11.4 per game), 51 receptions, 578 yards, and five touchdowns. During that span, he has just one game with fewer than 19.3 DraftKings points. On a four-game slate, it’s going to be nearly impossible to avoid him. The matchup with the Seahawks isn’t one that’s been a must-avoid, either. There have been eight receivers who’ve seen double-digit targets against them, and while each of them has scored at least 14.0 PPR points, six of them scored at least 22.2 DraftKings points. Adams moves all over the formation, but if the Seahawks keep their alignment the same as they have all season, he’ll see more of Tre Flowers than anyone, which is a big positive for Adams. Of the 127 cornerbacks that PFF has graded this year, Flowers ranks 125th. Against a similar defense last year, Adams tagged the Seahawks secondary for 10/166/0 on 12 targets. He’s a cash-game lock and someone you should have exposure to in tournaments as well.
Allen Lazard ($4,500): The Packers wide receivers behind Adams have been somewhat of a joke this year, as they’ve combined for two performances with at least 10 PPR points since Week 7. Lazard owns both of those performances, as he hit 19.3 PPR points in Week 13 and then 16.9 points in Week 17. There has been little-to-no consistency in their startability, though Lazard may have secured a bigger role heading into the playoffs, as he saw a combined 17 targets over the last two games and has been on the field for 75-plus percent of snaps in each of the last three games. At $4,500, you should be considering him as a value play. The Seahawks are the definition of an average defense against wide receivers, ranking 17th against them this year. They haven’t been very susceptible to the big play though, which is where Lazard does make his mark most of the time with his 14.2-yard average depth of target. He moves all over the formation, so he’s not going to see one cornerback more than the rest. Do we accept this two-game sample of targets as something to lean on in cash games? Probably not, though it’s tempting. He’s obviously in play for tournaments with his low cost.
Jacob Hollister ($4,000): We knew that the Eagles were a tough matchup coming into last week, though it’s hard to cross tight ends off your list on a four-game slate with how much volatility there is. Hollister has seen at least four targets in eight of his last nine games, including eight-plus targets in three of them. On a slate with Kelce, Kittle, and Andrews, I can tell you that Hollister won’t be popular in cash lineups. The Packers are not a tough matchup, however. They’ve allowed a 70 percent catch-rate, 7.86 yards per target, and a touchdown every 18.3 targets to the tight end position, which are all above the league average. There were eight different tight ends who finished as top-12 options against them this year, including six of them who tallied six or more receptions. With Jaron Brown and Malik Turner potentially coming back, it could cloud the target share available among Seahawks pass-catchers, though it’s not as if you’re using Hollister in cash lineups. He’s in play for tournaments as someone who’s shown the ability to catch multiple touchdowns in a game, and he just might have the best matchup among tight ends this weekend.
Jimmy Graham ($3,300): The revenge game narrative will be strong in this one, as Graham plays against his former team. Unfortunately, Graham hasn’t been what you’d call fantasy relevant for a while now, as he’s failed to top 49 yards in all but three games this season. Even touchdowns have been hard to come by, as he hasn’t scored since Week 7, which is a big part of the reason he’s totaled more than 8.9 PPR points just three times all year. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the Seahawks were behind only the Cardinals in terms of fantasy points allowed to tight ends. It wasn’t just a big game here and there, either, as they allowed 10 different tight ends to record 10.2 or more PPR points, which again ranked as the second most behind only the Cardinals. There was a multi-touchdown game in there they allowed to Vance McDonald, who was irrelevant essentially all year, so don’t completely forget about Graham if you’re creating 10-plus lineups, though there are a lot of great tight ends on this slate.
Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers
Line: SF by 6.5
Kirk Cousins ($5,700): After making it through a tough matchup with the Saints on the road, the Vikings will return home and then must travel out to the west coast to play in just six days. It’s a far from ideal scenario with them, as the 49ers are fresh off their bye week and are getting healthy on defense. The 49ers may show that they’ve allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks, but they’ve been better than that against pocket passers like Cousins. If you were to remove all rushing totals allowed to quarterbacks, the 49ers allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks behind only the Patriots, Bills, and Ravens. They seemed to struggle down the stretch while allowing 11 passing touchdowns over their final four games, but missing Jaquiski Tartt and Dee Ford for essentially the whole time, while dealing with injuries to Richard Sherman and K’Waun Williams also played a part. Prior to that stretch, they’d allowed just 12 passing touchdowns in their other 12 games. Outside of the massive Drew Brees performance in New Orleans, the 49ers haven’t allowed a quarterback more than two passing touchdowns this year. There were three quarterbacks who threw for more than 241 yards against them, though each of them threw the ball at least 40 times, something Cousins hasn’t done the entire season. In fact, there have been just two quarterbacks to average more than 7.40 yards per attempt against them all year. There’s not nearly enough safety with Cousins to play him in cash and outside of the Brees game, there hasn’t been enough upside against the 49ers for him in tournaments, either.
Jimmy Garoppolo ($5,600): It’s been a bumpy ride for those who’ve tried to predict Garoppolo this season, as his top five performances this year came in Weeks 11, 9, 14, 2, and 12. His bottom five performances came in Weeks 8, 7, 13, 3, 10. As you can see, they’re scattered all over the place with 10-of-16 games netting 13.0 or less fantasy points. He’s been a better producer overall since acquiring Emmanuel Sanders, but still inconsistent. The Vikings haven’t been the shutdown defense they’ve been in the past, but they also haven’t been as bad as some believe. The 6.79 yards per attempt and 3.85 percent touchdown-rate are both well below league average, though volume allowed some quarterbacks to post fantasy totals. The 598 pass attempts they faced this year was the fifth-highest mark in the league. It should come as no surprise that the top four performances against them were by quarterbacks who attempted 40-plus passes. There were two occasions where they allowed a quarterback to throw three-plus touchdowns (Matthew Stafford, Dak Prescott) and both were on the road. The issue is that over the last five weeks, they’ve allowed a combined three touchdown passes, so they’ve stepped up late in the year, including a complete shutdown of the Saints pass attack last week. Garoppolo himself has totaled more than 37 pass attempts just twice all season, so it’s hard to see him completely smashing in this matchup. As is the case with most pocket passers, if he’s cold as a passer, he has an extremely low floor while offering nothing with his legs. You aren’t playing him in cash with the other options available and it’s extremely hard to see this game turning into a shootout, making him unappealing in tournaments as well.
Dalvin Cook ($8,000): The Vikings were apparently just playing it safe with Cook leading up to the postseason because they’re seemingly going to ride him until the wheels fall off. He racked-up a season-high 28 carries last weekend, turning them into 94 yards and two touchdowns against the tough Saints run defense that ranked No. 3 in yards per carry (3.65) coming into that game. The seven rushing touchdowns they’d allowed was the fourth-fewest in football. So, when you see the 49ers on the schedule next, the matchup isn’t something you should be completely worried about. It’s not great, though. They’ve allowed just three running backs all season to amass 100-plus total yards this season despite playing against 12 different running backs who received at least 15 touches. From a point-per-opportunity standpoint, they’ve allowed the fourth-fewest points, behind only the Steelers, Patriots, and Bucs. It’s not a week to expect high efficiency out of Cook, especially when you know the Bucs may get star inside linebacker Kwon Alexander back in the fold. The run success rate was 51.1 percent without him on the field, while it was just 44.6 percent with him on the field. The 49ers also allowed just 1.17 PPR points per target this year to running backs, which was the best mark in the league, as 4.55 yards per target and no touchdowns will do that. Still, when you have a running back seeing this many touches and one who is gamescript-proof, you must consider him in cash lineups, though it may be hard to fit him in with the salary they’ve applied to him. I’d say he’s better in cash than in tournaments, as it’s hard to see a highly-efficient game out of him coming off a 31-touch game, just five days of rest, and traveling cross-country.
Raheem Mostert ($5,800), Matt Breida ($3,300), and Tevin Coleman ($3,500): Since the 49ers decided to go to Mostert as the starter, here are the touch counts over the last five games: Mostert 70, Coleman 24, Breida 17. Breida did miss a game, so we’re looking at roughly a 60/20/20 split between these three running backs. Since taking the starting job, Mostert has generated at least 11.3 PPR points in every game, while posting 20-plus in 3-of-5 games. There’s no reason to expect the timeshare to change with the way he’s been playing. The issue that stands in the way is the Vikings run defense that’s been limiting to opposing running backs. They allowed the 12th fewest points to running backs this year, as there were just seven running backs who were able to finish better than RB20 against them, which includes David Montgomery, who did it in Week 17 when they were resting starters. The common theme among backs who finished better than RB20? They all scored at least one touchdown. That’s likely due to the fact that there were just three running backs all season who totaled more than four receptions and just three who totaled more than 36 receiving yards. Mostert has received three of the four running back carries inside the five-yard-line over the last five games, so he’s the one you’re looking at with scoring potential. Nothing is guaranteed, however, as the Vikings have allowed a running back touchdown in just 9-of-17 games this year. It does help that the Vikings are coming off just five days rest and traveling across the country, but it’s risky to pay $5,800 in cash for a running back who’s not guaranteed more than 12 touches or so, as his totals the last four games were 12-15-11-11. He’s best-suited for tournaments as someone you’re hoping scores multiple touchdowns. Breida and Coleman are nothing more than tournament dart throws, though both have homerun potential with the ball in their hands. The issue is that the Vikings allowed just five run plays of 20-plus yards this year, which was the second-lowest mark in the league.
Stefon Diggs ($6,000): The Vikings decided not to target Diggs very often in their win over the Saints, as he finished with just three targets, two receptions, and 19 scoreless yards. That’s obviously not ideal for someone DraftKings is asking you to pay-up for against a 49ers team that’s been a tough matchup for wide receivers all season. There have been just nine wide receivers who’ve scored at least 16 PPR points against them this year, and every single one of them finished with at least seven targets, including six of them with double digits. That’s been a hard number for Diggs to come by with Thielen in the lineup. He’s averaging just 5.5 targets per game with Thielen in the lineup, which pales to the 7.2 targets he was getting with Thielen out. All six of Diggs’ touchdowns this year have come on go-routes or post-routes, which are two routes that neither Richard Sherman nor Ahkello Witherspoon have allowed a touchdown on this year. Knowing that Diggs doesn’t go into the slot 85 percent of the time, those are the two cornerbacks he’ll be seeing in coverage. While Diggs is talented to beat them with enough opportunity, he’s not guaranteed opportunity, as witnessed last week. His target totals in the three games since Thielen returned are 6-5-3. He’s a tournament play this week, and one who’ll likely have suppressed ownership after his bust last week.
Adam Thielen ($6,200): I’d hoped that Thielen would be moved more into the slot during the playoffs, but that didn’t happen, as he ran just eight routes from the slot all game. It wound-up being a great thing against the Saints, as he racked-up 7/129/0 on a team-high nine targets, but this week’s matchup gets a bit tougher on the perimeter. The duo of Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon have combined to allow just 54-of-104 passing for 631 yards and seven touchdowns in their coverage this year. That’s just a 51.9 percent catch-rate and 6.07 yards per target, though Witherspoon can be beat for touchdowns (he’s allowed six of the seven). Thielen lines up on Sherman’s side more often, but he is moved around the formation, so you can’t say if he’ll see more of one or the other. What I do know is that Cousins has had more success targeting Thielen versus zone coverage (49ers very zone heavy) than he has Diggs over the last two years, as his quarterback rating was 91.6 when targeting Diggs while it was 106.9 targeting Thielen. It’s not a dramatic change but it could be the slight difference we’re looking for, and Thielen also moves into the slot a bit more than Diggs, which helps in this matchup. Thielen is still a bit iffy in cash with how much they’ve priced him up, but he’d be the preferred option of the Vikings duo. He has tournament appeal too, though Diggs may be much lower owned coming off last week’s performances.
Emmanuel Sanders ($5,400): Similar to Garoppolo’s numbers, Sanders has had a bumpy ride when it comes to production. Much of that comes from the lack of consistency in targets, as you can see by his totals since joining the 49ers: 5-9-4-5-1-6-9-4-6-4. We can remove the one-target game as he was playing through an injury, but still, his targets have consistently ranged from 4-9, which is not a great area to be in for those looking to save money in cash games. His price is solid when you consider the range of outcomes, as is the matchup he has with the Vikings, who’ve essentially been the best defense to attack with cash-game receivers. The average WR3 (or better) performance last year required 11.7 PPR points. The Vikings allowed 25 different wide receivers to hit that mark in 2019, which was the most in the league, while the Lions and Bucs tied for second with 23 such performances. Add in the fact that they’re a bit banged-up right now and you have what might be a good spot for Sanders. They will be without Mike Hughes and Mackensie Alexander, while Xavier Rhodes appeared to be playing through an injury last week. Their cornerback depth is a real issue. The combination of Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Holton Hill has allowed 132-of-171 passing for 1,543 yards and 10 touchdowns in their coverage. That’s… not great. Sanders is someone you should consider in cash game lineups at his discounted price. While I probably like him better in cash games, he has some appeal in tournaments as well.
Deebo Samuel ($5,200): The arrival of Emmanuel Sanders was great for Samuel, who seemed to have his breakout right around that time. From Week 9 through Week 17, Samuel was the No. 9 fantasy wide receiver. Crazy, right? He tallied 39 receptions for 615 yards and two touchdowns through the air, while racking up 122 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in those nine games. Like Sanders, though, his targets have been inconsistent in that time, ranging from just two in Week 12, to 11 of them in Week 10. He hasn’t seen more than six targets in five of his last six games, which is a big problem for reliability. But bringing up what I did in the Sanders paragraph above, the Vikings allowed 25 different wide receivers to post 11.7 or more PPR points during the regular season (most in NFL), which amounts to just under two per game. There’s room for both Samuel and Sanders to produce in this matchup. Based on where Samuel lines up most of the time, he’ll see a lot of Rhodes, who used to be a shutdown cornerback, though this year he’s been more of one to attack in DFS while allowing an 83.8 percent catch-rate in his coverage. I’d trust Sanders as a veteran over Samuel in cash games, but Samuel deserves tournament consideration in this matchup.
Kendrick Bourne ($3,700): Over the last month and a half, we’ve watched Bourne cement himself into the No. 3 wide receiver role in the 49ers offense, though they don’t run nearly as many 3WR sets as some teams. Because of that, he’s playing right around 50 percent of the snaps. The Vikings have been good at defending the slot (where Bourne plays more often than not) this year, allowing just 5.95 yards per target on slot targets and just four touchdowns on 160 targets. It does upgrade his matchup that Mackensie Alexander is out with a knee injury, but not enough to play Bourne as anything more than a weak hail mary in large pool tournaments.
Kyle Rudolph ($3,400) and Irv Smith Jr. ($2,600): It was all Rudolph last week, as he saw six targets while Smith had none. The routes weren’t as cut-and-dry, though, as Smith did run 15 routes to Rudolph’s 22 routes. The gap in their prices went up due to the results, though. Unfortunately, they’re walking into a brutal matchup with the 49ers defense that’s been a tough one to crack for tight ends. On the year, there have been just four tight ends who’ve finished with double-digit PPR points against them. Those tight ends were Jared Cook, Jacob Hollister, Tyler Higbee, and Mark Andrews. Outside of that group, no tight end was able to top 32 yards. To tight ends as a whole, they allowed a league-low 34.5 yards per game, which makes a timeshare less than ideal, especially in cash games. It’s tough to take any tight end off a four-game slate, as a touchdown could present much-needed value, though I wouldn’t bank on it for either of these tight ends.
George Kittle ($6,200): He’s totaled at least 54 yards in 12-of-14 games this season, highlighting a great floor seemingly every week. The targets have been inconsistent for the wide receivers but not him. He’s seen at least eight targets in each of his last four games, which included a 17-target game against the Falcons. The Vikings are one of the toughest matchups for tight ends, though the position has been heavily targeted in their games. They’ve faced an average of 8.0 times per game, which ranked as the eighth-most in the NFL, while the 5.3 receptions per game also ranked eighth. That’s the extent of the good news, as the Vikings have allowed the fewest fantasy points per target to the tight end position by a wide margin. The 1.32 PPR points per target was 12 percent better than any other team in the league. Now, to be fair, touchdowns dictate a lot for points allowed to tight ends, and the Vikings allowed a league-low one touchdown to the position while no other team allowed fewer than three of them. While some may write this off as very unpredictable and dependent on who they’ve played, here are some of the tight ends they’ve played this year: Darren Waller, Austin Hooper, Travis Kelce, Jared Cook, Evan Engram, Zach Ertz, and Hunter Henry. None of those tight ends scored a touchdown. It’s safe to say they’re very good at defending the position. Kittle still brings a high floor with his target share and let’s not pretend that other teams don’t know where the ball is going, yet they still can’t stop it. He’s in play for cash games if you need to save a few hundred off Kelce (I prefer Kelce if salary isn’t an issue), and you obviously want to have exposure in tournaments.
Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens
Line: BAL by 8.5
Ravens notable injuries: RB Mark Ingram (calf)
Ryan Tannehill ($5,400): We knew it was going to be a tough game for Tannehill last week when walking into Foxborough to play the Patriots defense, but there was no situation where anyone thought he’d throw the ball just 15 times, complete eight passes, and win the game. That was just the second time since taking over in Week 7 where he finished with fewer than 17.9 fantasy points. Unfortunately, he’s got another brutal matchup with the Ravens this week. There has not been a quarterback who’s averaged more than 7.86 yards per attempt against them since way back in Week 4. In fact, there was just one quarterback who averaged more than 6.81 yards per attempt over those 12 games. The addition of Marcus Peters was the icing on the cake for that secondary that was already talented. With him in the lineup this year, they’ve allowed 6.15 yards per attempt compared to 8.05 without him. Since Week 3, there have been just two quarterbacks who’ve tallied more than one passing touchdown against them, though neither quarterback was able to finish better than QB17. Knowing that Patrick Mahomes is the only quarterback to score more than 15.8 fantasy points against them all year, it’s hard to see the Ravens defense changing while at home during a playoff game. Knowing the Titans want to run the ball a ton and that Tannehill has finished with 27 pass attempts or less in seven of the last eight games, Tannehill is off limits in cash games. Even taking chances in tournaments doesn’t make much sense when you know that Ravens’ opponents averaged a league-low 57.6 plays per game combined with their limited efficiency through the air.
Lamar Jackson ($8,400): Will the fact that he hasn’t played in a game for two full weeks matter? Some say he may be rusty while others say it’s best to keep him fresh and healthy. The Titans are a much better matchup than the Patriots would’ve been, as they’re a team that’s allowed nine different quarterbacks to rush for at least 17 yards, including 53 of them to Jameis Winston. If you read the Tannehill notes above, you’d know that no quarterback has finished top-16 against the Ravens since Week 4. Well, against the Titans, there’ve been just four quarterbacks who didn’t finish top-16 against them all season. Those quarterbacks were Kyle Allen, Jacoby Brissett, Baker Mayfield, and Joe Flacco. Three of those games were earlier in the season when they still had Malcolm Butler available (went to injured reserve after Week 9). The Titans opponents have averaged 66.0 plays per game while the Ravens have averaged 66.5 themselves, which are both high numbers. With Mark Ingram maybe not 100 percent and Jackson fully rested, you should be expecting massive rushing totals out of him. The Titans haven’t generated much pressure this year (ranked 12th-worst) and have generated a sack on just 6.7 percent of dropbacks. When you combine his rushing totals with the fact that we’ve seen 10-of-16 quarterbacks throw multiple touchdowns, and five of them throw for 300-plus yards against the Titans, Jackson is a must-play on a four-game slate. He’s your cash game quarterback and someone you should have plenty of exposure to in tournaments as well.
Derrick Henry ($8,200): If you faded Henry last week, well, let’s just say it didn’t go great. He racked-up a massive 35 touches for 204 yards and a touchdown against the Patriots who just didn’t have an answer. In fact, there’s been no team who’s had the answer against this run-game as of late. He’s now scored at least 24.9 DraftKings points in seven of his last eight games, including 32.5 or more in three of them. The Titans are going to ride-or-die with Henry. If the Ravens have had a weakness this year, it’s been against the run, though they haven’t been bad or anything. Take a look at the comparison to the Patriots, who were just dominated by Henry last week.
As you can see, the Ravens were a lot more giving than the Patriots during the regular season, particularly when it came down to the red zone. The 4.42 yards per carry they’ve allowed ranked as the 10th-most in football, while the miniscule 6.97 PPR points per game they allowed through the air to running backs was the second-best mark in the NFL. So, in short, they’ve been much more friendly to two-down backs rather than receiving ones. This matchup appears to be right up Henry’s wheelhouse. The only issue here would be lack of plays for his offense overall, as the Ravens opponents have averaged a league-low 57.6 plays per game, and that’s led to a league-low 22.3 touches per game for running backs as a team. If the Titans can’t keep the Ravens offense off the field, we could be looking at limited opportunities for Henry. While they did keep Tom Brady and the Patriots offense off the field, asking them to do that against Lamar Jackson is a different story. Henry is someone you probably want to play with the way this matchup aligns, but if you’re predicting a big Ravens win, he may disappoint.
Mark Ingram ($6,700): It seems as if Ingram will be a go this weekend, as John Harbaugh said he was on track to play prior to last weekend. When Ingram suits up, we know what his role is by now. He’s not going to see 20 touches no matter what’s happening in the game, as he’s been limited to a max of 15 carries in every game since Week 5, and he hasn’t caught more than three passes since back in Week 3. What you can rely on is 13-18 touches rather confidently, though you should know the Titans are a better run defense than they are against the pass. The status of linebacker Jayon Brown is something many will watch, though the Titans have actually been a better run-stopping unit with him off the field this year, allowing just 3.50 yards per carry on the 300 snaps he missed, compared to 4.23 yards per carry with him on the field. Bottom line is that he’s better in coverage than he is against the run. As a whole, they’ve allowed just three running backs to total 83-plus yards on the ground this year, and all three of those running backs (Christian McCaffrey, Carlos Hyde, and Leonard Fournette) totaled at least 24 carries, a number Ingram won’t get to, so you’re left looking for a touchdown, which is something that’s been somewhat reliable with him. He’s scored in 9-of-15 games this year, including multiple touchdowns in three of his last five games played. Because of that, he’s in-play for tournaments as a pivot off Jackson. The question comes down to cash and whether he’s playable there. Knowing he’s coming off his injury combined with his lack of overall touches and touchdown-reliance, I’d look elsewhere.
A.J. Brown ($6,000): He was another receiver we knew had a brutal matchup last week, but one catch for four yards? The lack of attempts is a problem and it’s affected Brown before, as he had just two targets against the Saints in Week 16. Again, it was a brutal matchup, but this week is no different. The Ravens secondary has tough matchups all over the field, as the trio of Marcus Peters, Jimmy Smith, and Marlon Humphrey have been one of the best in football, if not the best. The one thing receivers have had to rely on against them is volume, as the 1.48 PPR points per target they’ve allowed was the third-lowest mark in the NFL behind only the Patriots and Bills. The 22.3 targets per game wide receivers have averaged against them was the third-highest mark in the league, but that’s an area the Titans have lacked a lot themselves. Over the 17 games they’ve played, their wide receivers have averaged just 15.4 targets per game. Brown will see Smith about 60 percent of the time, the one who’s allowed just a 51.1 percent catch-rate and 5.40 yards per target in his coverage. Brown is nothing more than a tournament play and one you’re looking for a catch-and-run situation with.
Corey Davis ($3,700): Many will be criticizing the call of Davis as a solid cheap play last week, but let’s not pretend that A.J. Brown‘s one-catch, four-yard performance was good, either. No one could’ve predicted just three targets between the two receivers, but that’s where this offense is right now. Davis still hasn’t seen more than six targets in any of his last nine games, so we know his ceiling is limited. The Ravens are not a team to attack with receivers, as they allowed just 19 wide receivers to finish top-36 against them this year. That does amount to right around one per game, though 14 of them totaled at least seven targets, a number we know Davis doesn’t reach. He’s going to see Marcus Peters the most, a Pro Bowl cornerback who has allowed just 35-of-62 passing for 368 yards and three touchdowns in the 10 games with the Ravens. He can be beat over the top at times, though that’s not a strength in Davis’ game. He’s nothing more than a tournament play, though he’s not a very good one.
Tajae Sharpe ($3,500) or Adam Humphries ($3,000): We should wait on the status of Humphries before determining if there’s any value here, but we know this matchup is brutal regardless, as Marlon Humphrey will cover the slot receiver. He’s been pretty lockdown in his coverage this year, allowing just a 59.8 percent catch-rate with just three touchdowns on 87 targets. There was a game mixed-in where Jamison Crowder tagged them for 90 yards and two touchdowns, though that was a blip on the radar in what’s been a brutal matchup. Neither of these players are seeing more than 5-6 targets, so feel free to avoid them, even in tournaments.
Marquise Brown ($4,400): If there’s anyone who could’ve used a few weeks off, it was Brown, who’s been dealing with foot/ankle injuries throughout the season. The issue’s that he hasn’t seen more than four targets in eight of his last nine games, including each of the last five games. When you’re seeing so few targets, it’s hard to be consistent, just ask Amari Cooper. The good news is that he’s been able to score a touchdown once every 10.1 targets and has the hottest quarterback in football throwing him the ball. Of the 13 wide receivers who’ve scored 14-plus PPR points against the Titans, with 12 of them totaled at least five targets, with the only exception being Kenny Stills, who caught all three of his targets for 35 yards and two touchdowns. Brown moves all over the formation, so there’s not one cornerback he’ll see all day, though Adoree Jackson is likely the one he’ll see most of. Jackson just came off a multi-week injury last week but played well in the win over the Patriots. He is the one cornerback who has the speed to hang with Brown, too. The Titans have allowed the ninth-most yards per target (8.59) to wide receivers, so it’s not an efficient defense that you have to worry about, just the targets for Brown. Because of those low targets, he’s not a must-play in cash games, though his price is tempting. In tournaments, you should have some exposure.
Willie Snead ($3,800): If you’re looking for a full-time player in the Ravens offense, Snead is it. He’s actually played the most snaps among the Ravens wide receivers this year. Unfortunately, it hasn’t led to a whole lot of targets, as he’s yet to see more than five in a game all season. There have been four occasions where he’s seen exactly five targets, which isn’t far off the six times that Marquise Brown has hit that number. Unfortunately, again, the targets Snead has seen haven’t amounted to much, as he’s failed to top 22 yards in each of the last 11 games. He’s scored five touchdowns on the measly 45 targets he’s seen this year, which is extremely efficient, but there’s nothing here you can count on. He’s going to see Logan Ryan in the slot, who has been relatively average in coverage this year, though not someone you actively need to target, as he’s totaled five interceptions. The fact that he’s a full-time player does make us consider him, but he’s nothing more than a touchdown-dependent hail-mary option that you shouldn’t feel the need to play.
Seth Roberts ($3,500): He’s another receiver who’s gone under the radar as a full-time player in the Ravens offense, as his 550 snaps are just 11 behind Marquise Brown. He’s also seen 16 targets in the last five games he’s played with Lamar Jackson, which is the reason he’s here. He’ll see Tramaine Brock in coverage throughout most of this game, the cornerback the Titans acquired just five weeks ago who’s stepped in and played fairly well. He’s allowed just 10-of-22 passing for 65 yards in his coverage over that time and played maybe his best game of the year against the Patriots last week. Roberts isn’t someone you want to play in cash and knowing he may have the toughest matchup among the Ravens wide receivers, he isn’t someone to target in tournaments, either.
Jonnu Smith ($3,400) and Anthony Firkser ($2,500): We talked about the lack of consistency in Smith’s role in the offense and it continued against the Patriots last week as he fell behind Firkser on the target totem pole. It’s not like there were many targets to go around (15), but that’s part of the issue with Smith’s reliability. The Ravens were not a matchup to target with tight ends this year, as they’ve allowed just two tight ends to top 37 yards all season. One of them way Travis Kelce, while the other was Ricky Seals-Jones, who was the backup tight end and completely off the radar when that game took place (I’m fairly certain nobody knew he was on the Browns when that happened). The Ravens allowed just 127.5 PPR points to the position in 2019, which ranked as the best in the NFL, while the closest team (Bills) allowed 147.5 PPR points, a full 20-point difference. It certainly helps the Ravens saw just 5.1 tight end targets per game, but that’s also what we’ve come to expect from the Titans offense. Smith is nowhere near the cash-game radar in this game. On a four-game slate, it’s difficult to cross a tight end like Smith off your tournament radar because of the ability he has with the ball in his hands, as the 8.1 yards after the catch ranked second-best among tight ends. His 14 broken tackles ranked third behind only George Kittle and Travis Kelce. Firkser isn’t someone I’d bank on being a factor again.
Mark Andrews ($5,600): Raise your hand if you’ve heard something about Andrews playing just 40-50 percent of the snaps. While that’s worrisome with most tight ends, we have a large enough sample size with Andrews to know that it doesn’t apply to him in this offense. When you’re targeted once every 3.0 routes you run (leads all tight ends) and still rank second in the league in yards per route run, it’s fair to say they’ve maximized the time Andrews is on the field. Despite not even reaching the 100-target mark, Andrews finished as the No. 5 tight end in PPR formats. The Titans really struggled with tight ends this year, as they allowed 12-of-16 tight ends to finish as top-15 options against them, including five top-five performances. It wasn’t one particular thing, either, as they struggled across the board. They allowed 11.5 yards per reception (10th-highest), 7.70 yards per target (12th-highest), a touchdown every 13.2 targets (5th-most often), and 1.90 PPR points per target (7th-most) to the tight end position, which has amounted to the sixth-most fantasy points per game. Given the plus-matchup combined with Andrews’ efficiency this year, and you have what looks to be a rock-solid cash-game play with tournament upside. He’s going to be very popular this week and for good reason.